With Madison’s application submitted to become the pilot city for Google Fiber — an experimental high-speed Internet connection — to increase support, city officials unveiled a Google Fiber ice cream flavor Friday.
Google plans to make a decision by the end of the year, Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, said. With thousands of applications coming in from cities around the nation, he expects it could be a while until Madison hears anything.
Madison’s application for the technology is available for viewing online at Madfiber.net, a collaborative effort between citizens, agencies and city government to coordinate the application process and focus some of the creative input.
The application is in the form of a Request For Information by Google. Municipalities interested in the technology are required to provide a range of facts, from population and infrastructure to utility providers and outreach efforts.
“We’ve developed existing fiber infrastructure that Google can leverage. We have an engaged and tech savvy population and a tradition of socially conscious activism. And, we are already home to a local Google office,” the RFI said.
The website also includes letters to Google from area leaders including Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, University of Wisconsin Chancellor Biddy Martin and UW professor of computer science Lawrence Landweber.
Several cities across the country have pulled some whacky publicity stunts to attract extra attention from Google. In Sarasota, Fla. the mayor swam with sharks at the local aquarium and in Duluth, Minn. the mayor took a swim in ice-cold Lake Superior.
Madison took a more subtle approach and created an ice cream flavor at Babcock Dairy with M&M’s that represent the colors in Google’s name and granola as a source of fiber. The ice cream was sent to Google last Friday in an attempt by Madison’s city leaders to garner their attention.
“This is a demonstration of the fun and creative community we are here in Madison,” Clear said. “I don’t know if it will make a difference in their decision, but we’ll see.”
Google is touting this new technology as the best and fastest Internet connection around. It claims the connection will be 100 times faster than the majority of household Internet connections and will be capable of working at speeds up to one gigabit per second. According to a Google press release, a high-definition, full-length movie could be downloaded in less than five minutes.
Google accepted applications from cities across the U.S. with populations between 50,000 and 500,000. Whichever city is chosen for the experimental project will be able to purchase the new high-speed Internet connection at rates Google says will be competitive with the market.
The deadline for cities to apply passed on March 26. The ball is now in Google’s court.
“It would be very exciting for the community,” said Brian Rust, University of Wisconsin’s IT communications director, on the prospects of Google choosing Madison. “For now, there is not much more we can say or do other than wait.”